Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Advice to Defenders of the Jerome Gambit: Don't Slow Down

When I ran in school, my teacher said not to stop at the finish line, but to aim for a spot well beyond there. He said that would keep me moving as fast as possible while I was racing. Otherwise, I would slow down at the end, and this would be to the benefit of my opponents.

The same advice can be given to those who defend against the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+): When you realize that you have received a piece or two in a "refuted" opening, keep "running" - keep competing - and do not slow down or relax your attention too soon.

Chessfriend Vlastamil Fejfar, of the Czech Republic (see "A Fierce Jerome Gambit Battle", shares a recent online game where his opponent ignored this advice. The result was as expected.

vlastous - rubicon, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Qf6 

Vlasta and Readers have seen this move before, as I noted in an earlier post
A line seen as early as in a note in G.H.D. Gossip's 1891 The Chess Player's Vade Mecum and Pocket Guide to the Openings with all the latest theoretical discoveries and traps in the openings revealed, and more recently supported by FM Eric Schiller in his books on unorthodox openings. (It is fun to read MrJoker's comments about some of Schiller's analysis - see "Joker's Wild" 12and Conclusion.) 
I would like to point out that Schiller in his Unorthodox Chess Openings (1998) wrongly identified Henry Joseph Blackburne's opponent in his classic destruction of the Jerome Gambit as Alonzo Wheeler Jerome, himself. Fifteen years of research into the Jerome Gambit has not turned up any evidence that AWJ ever travelled to London, let alone was able to play HJB at Simpson's Divan. (Certainly Dr. Tim Harding would have included this tidbit, were it not merely a figment of Schiller's imagination, in his exhaustive Joseph Henry Blackburne A Chess Biography.)

In any event, Black has every reason to feel comfortable with his position, as he has played a "refutation" that both time and reference books have presented as sufficient.

8.Rf1 g6 9.Qh3+ Kf7 

But - Black relaxes too soon, as Vlasta immediately demonstrates. Best was the alternative 9...Ke7.

10.fxe5 Qxf1+ 11.Kxf1 d5 12.Qc3 b6 13.d4 Black resigned

White's material advantage is decisive. 

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